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Paper Ballots In Prince William County?

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    NEWSLETTERS

    After some voters in Virginia waited in line for hours to cast their ballots, there are calls for changes before the next election. News4's Tom Sherwood reports. (Published Friday, Nov 9, 2012)

    According to PotomacLocal.com, Prince William County has decided to use paper ballots in elections, following long lines at the polls on Election Day.

    The local-news website tweeted the news Tuesday night: "Breaking News: Prince William County Board of Elections to institute use of paper ballots following long lines at polls Nov. 6."

    On Election Day, some voters in the county waited for up to four hours to vote. The long lines attracted some press reports - including from News4's Voter Patrol - and even national attention.

    But it also prompted concern for the Board of Elections. On Nov. 6, the board issued a statement promising to get to the bottom of the issue:

    "As an Electoral Board, we consider these long wait times to be unacceptable, and we are already in discussions about how to fix this problem for future elections," the statement read.

    Those fixes have already included "switching from paper poll books to electronic poll books, splitting larger precincts, and increasing training for election workers," the statement read.

    The board also went out of its way to say that all voting machines in the county had been deployed, and that the problem wasn't a budget shortfall.

    "The responsibility for assuring that there are enough voting machines to handle the number of voters who come to vote lies completely with the Electoral Board. We regret that some Prince William County citizens had to wait so long to cast their ballots on Election Day."

    Matching the right number of machines to the right precincts to keep the votes flowing is "not an exact science," the board said.

    Paper ballots are often used when machines break down or when there is a question of voter registration. They are read by optical scanners, and can be faster than waiting in a line for a machine.

    Could a low-tech solution speed county voting? NBCWashington will stay with this developing story.